I agonized over what I wanted to make for my special Mother’s Day dinner. While bored in school, I would take out some paper and start jotting down recipe ideas and flavor combos. I wanted to make this dinner perfect and I wanted to make it with new ingredients my mom had never had. Something special, something, fun, something fresh and light. The easiest component was the drink. Stevia Sweetened Iced Green Tea! Inspiration from the glorious drink that is a Starbucks Unsweetened Iced Green Tea (which I drank multiple times everyday down in DC.) But the main “food” components were a lot more challenging.
But of course, I consider myself an amateur food blogger and an experienced cook through and through. Of course I would come up with something, and that I did. The only scary thing was I wouldn’t be testing these recipes out until that day. Fingers crossed everything cooked and didn’t taste like…crap. I chose to utilize my newest obsession with grilling chicken and make a “robust” smokey grilled chicken breast. I say robust because I used ground coffee in the spice rub! Then I chose a lighter, fresher, Spring-inspired side dish. Watercress I knew I had to use! I had never had watercress and wanted to try it. A weed looking green, but full of powerful flavor. And millet! One of my favorite gluten-free grains and one that my mom had never tried.
And then of course I had to create a lovely atmosphere to go along with the meal. We don’t have a dining room or any thing fancy in our house. Our table is usually covered in papers and, well, my mom uses it as her desk. So it had to be cleared off, but once that was done a simple setting with the resources I had would suffice.
Then it was time for the cooking. I started with the Iced Green Tea earlier in the day. I wanted it to have ample time to get very cold and have the flavors infuse. Since I don’t use sugar, I use Stevia, and my mom has never had a drink sweetened with it. Well I wanted to prove to her that it was so much better than your old run of the mill white processed cane sugar. And so I did. I used my mom’s fine crystal glasses that have never even been taken out of the box. Fragile…careful handling was the name of the game.
Stevia Sweetened Iced Green Tea
+ 2 Green Tea Bags
+ 2 Packets of Stevia
+ Water 😉
+ Boil enough water to fill to tea mugs. Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes. Add 1 stevia packet to each mug. Allow the tea to cool once done steeping, then place it in a large container and refrigerate for a few hours. When ready to serve, shake it up and pour into pretty glasses (you can add ice and then shake, but I didn’t want ice to water it down).
The tea out of the way, it was time to make the salad. Again, I pre-made the millet a few hours before so it could cool off completely in the fridge since this is a cold salad. Then later all I had to do was chop, chop, chop and toss! a together so pretty. I love the fresh bright spring colors. Beautiful greens and red from my favorite raw veggie, the beet 😉 Also a splash of fresh lemon juice to brighten the salad further and give everything a nice zing. No heavy dressing here!
Fresh Spring Millet Salad with Watercress & Lemon
+ 1/2 Cup Millet
+ 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
+ 1 Tsp Onion Powder
+ 2 Cups Watercress
+ 1 Endive (chopped)
+ 1 Medium Beet (chopped)
+ 1 Large Portobello Mushroom Cap (sliced and chopped)
+ 3/4 Cup (about 22) Snow Peas (jullienned)
+ 1 TB Lemon Juice + Zest of Whole Lemon
+ Cook millet according to directions on package. Add the garlic and onion powders in while it cooks. Allow it to sit and cool in the pot when done, then fluff with a fork and store in the fridge.
+ Wash and chop all you veggies, then in a large serving dish, add the beets, mushrooms, endive, and snow peas. Next add the millet and lastly add the watercress. Then zest the lemon and pour the lemon juice on. Toss everything together and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Finally all I had to do was dry rub and grill the chicken. This would be the make or break dish. And I had to pray that the grill had enough gas. I have been using it a lot and we haven’t gotten new gas since last summer. Fingers crossed! But as luck would have it, it worked! The chicken grilled and we didn’t die from under-cooked meat. My grilling confidence has severely increased 😉
Robust Smokey Grilled Chicken
+ 2 Cleaned and Trimmed Chicken Breasts
+ 1/2 Tsp Ground Coffee (Instant)
+ 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
+ 1/4 Tsp Cumin
+ 1/4 Tsp Smoked Paprika
+ 1/8 Tsp Coriander
+ 1/4 Tsp Chili Powder
+ 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
+ 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
+ 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
+ Combine all the spices together in a small bowl. Then rub the chicken breasts evenly, all around with the rub. You can allow them to marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or you can grill them right away.
+ Make sure your grill is heated (I cook my chicken on an oiled piece of foil to avoid any cross-contamination). Cook the chicken on one side for 10-12 minutes, flip, and cook for an additionally 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked though.
Once all the food was done, it was time to plate. Ah, the presentation. The most crucial part of the culinary experience. We eat with our eyes first, ey? Well I kept it simple. I dished out the salad around the plate, keeping the middle open, so I could place the chicken breast right there in the center. Then A sprinkle of parsley over everything to keep it classy.
I was staring at the point. Mouth-watering aromas did not help. I had kept my mom out of the kitchen this whole time and told her to get ready. She had to get a bit dressed up for this occasion. I changed into a dress while the chicken was cooking…but I left my socks on 😉 Before I called her in though, I had to appease my food blogger habits and photograph everything. I even took an instagram picture with my phone so I could upload this occasion later for you all to see 😉
Then I finally called my mom in and we sat down to enjoy this meal together. It was nice and silent in the house. We didn’t talk much like we usually do, but it was nice. Just sitting and eating together with some peace. With all my worries and preparations, everything came out delicious and I was so happy 🙂 Mission accomplished.
I think I want to start doing more regular Sunday dinners this Summer. It would be a great time to just relax and enjoy each other before I leave for school in a few months. My brother is home too, so it would be nice to have him join in. But now I just need to start cooking bigger quantities of food so I can feed them all 😉 I am getting to used to cooking for just myself.
My mom asked if there was dessert to go along with this dinner. Well, no I did not make dessert, haha. But her birthday is coming up on the 28th, in 1 week, and I will make dessert for her then 😉
So tell me:
+ What was your Mother’s Day dinner like? Did you do the cooking or did you have someone cook for you?
+ Do you have a special day each week where you sit down to dinner all together?
*Recipe linking up for the week! WIAW, Allergy Free Wednesdays, #RecipeFridays, #RecipeOfTheWeek, #StrangeButGood, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Tasty Tuesdays, , Gluten-Free Tuesday, Healthy Vegan Fridays, #Foodie Friday, Real Food Recipe Roundup!*
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